Shires that border Ballarat will be placed under new lockdown measures as of tonight.
New restrictions will be enforced in the Moorabool and Golden Plains shires as of 11.59pm on Thursday.
Under the new restrictions, households in this shire can have no visitors in their home.
However, they are allowed to: visit restaurants and cafes, gyms and attend community sport.
The drastic new measures come as Victoria has records an alarming new tally of COVID-19 cases, with 723 positive tests in the last 24 hours.
The new case record also comes coupled with a new fatalities record, with 13 coronavirus-related deaths yesterday.
Masks outside the home are also set to become mandatory throughout Victoria as of 11.59pm on Sunday.
There are 255 active cases in regional Victoria, with 159 of those from the six LGA's including and surrounding Geelong.
All shires to fall under new restrictions are:
- Golden Plains
- Greater Geelong
- Surf Coast
- Borough of Queenscliffe
Localised figures will not be released until this afternoon but as of Wednesday, there were 10 active cases in Ballarat.
There were 11 active cases in Moorabool and eight in Golden Plains.
In Geelong there were 44 active cases.
Premier Daniel Andrews said keeping hospitality venues and gyms open in the six LGA shires was safer than having people at home.
He said they were "controlled environments", moreso than having visitors in households.
"People are not keeping their distance in their family home; hugs and kisses and handshakes, not adhering to the protocols," he said.
"That's where the transmission is, it's not in cafes and restaurants, it is in small homes, one family to another, groups of visitors getting it from family who might not know or vice versa."
The worrying new high follows two days of promising signs, with 295 new cases confirmed on Wednesday and 384 on Tuesday.
The new record swamps the previous high of 532 on Monday.
Read the full statement from Premier Daniel Andrews here:
Today is not a good day.
And as the numbers show, this virus does not discriminate.
It rips through workplaces, sweeps through aged care settings, cuts through communities - and tragically, takes lives with it as it goes.
Most of today's cases are in metro areas. But we have seen a significant jump in regional communities. It's vital we stop this virus further seeping into regional Victoria.
Last week, and based on the latest in scientific study, we announced that face coverings would be mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.
Today, and in line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, I can announce that same requirement will apply across regional Victoria.
That means from Sunday 2 August at 11:59pm, a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home - and wherever you live.
I understand this will a big step for some. But by covering your face, you're protecting your community, and protecting those extra freedoms your community enjoys.
By covering your face, you're keeping local businesses open, and keeping local people in work.
There are, unfortunately, other changes we need to make.
To date, new cases in regional communities have largely been contained to workplaces. Increasingly though, in some locations, we're seeing a different kind of spread.
That's why, from 11:59pm tonight, and in the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe, you will no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home.
Understandably, there'll be plenty of questions about why this and not that. Why you can have dinner together at a restaurant - but not at a mate's place.
And the simple truth is, the data. The data is telling us that outside work, this is the single greatest cause of transmission in these communities.
People are visiting friends and family - and taking the virus home with them.
It makes sense. These are the kind of places we let our guard down. We relax, we get comfortable and we forget all the rules about keeping safe.
As challenging as it is, these changes are fundamentally about protecting the people you love.
Reflecting today's numbers, we'll continue to look at workplaces - how and what and where more can be done to protect workers, their families and their communities.
I understand that many Victorians will be feeling equal parts frustrated, tired and sad. I am too.
We're clearly a long way from where we wanted to be.
As always, I do want to thank every single Victorian who is doing the right thing.
This is one of the biggest challenges our state has faced. And yet, really, we're all being asked to make the smallest of sacrifices.
By not seeing your mate, you might be saving their life.
By not hugging your mum, you might be keeping her alive.
And by covering your face, you're contributing to the safety of every single Victorian.
Day by day, decision by decision - we can get on top of this.
But we need your help.
WHERE TO TAKE A COVID-19 TEST IN BALLARAT
Everyone who feels even the slightest cold or flu-like symptom must assume they have the virus until a test result proves otherwise. Anybody with symptoms or awaiting a result should self-isolate at home.
- If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, make an appointment either online or by phone (4311 1571) to take a test at Lucas Community Hub. Tests are by appointment only.
- There is now a testing site at the Ballarat Senior Citizens Centre in the CBD. People are encouraged to book a test by calling 1800 054 172.
VICTORIA'S NIGHTMARE MONTH
- Thursday July 29: 723 cases, 13 deaths. Just when it was looking promising, alarming new record set.
- Wednesday July 29: 295 new cases, nine deaths as new cases drop below 300 for first time in nine days
- Tuesday July 28: 380 new cases, six deaths as aged care outbreaks continue to climb
- Monday July 27: 532 new cases as daily cases hits 500 for first time, six deaths
- Sunday July 26: 459 new cases as double-digit death toll is recorded for first time with 10 deaths
- Saturday July 25: 357 new cases, five new deaths
- Friday July 24: 300 cases, six deaths, ADF role expanded to help with contact tracing.
- Thursday July 23 - 403 cases, five deaths, worst day for fatalities in any state, masks now mandatory
- Wednesday July 22 - 484 cases, two deaths
- Tuesday July 21 - 374 cases, three deaths
- Monday July 20 - 275 cases, one death
- Sunday July 19 - 363 cases, three deaths, notice that masks will become mandatory in lockdown areas
- Saturday July 18 - 217 cases, three deaths, final Melbourne public housing tower released from hard lockdown
- Friday July 17 - 428 cases, three deaths
- Thursday July 16 - 317 cases, two deaths
- Wednesday July 15 - 238 cases, one death
- Tuesday July 14 - 270 cases, two deaths
- Monday July 13 - 177 cases
- Sunday July 12 - 273 cases, one death
- Saturday July 11 - 216 cases, one death
- Friday July 10 - 288 cases, a national daily record at the time
- Thursday July 9 - 165 cases, eight of nine Melbourne public housing towers released from hard lockdown
- Wednesday July 8 - 134 cases, new stage-three restrictions announced for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire
- Tuesday July 7 - 191 cases
- Monday July 6 - 127 cases, two deaths, NSW border closed
- Sunday July 5 - 74 cases
- Saturday July 4 - 108 cases, immediate hard lockdown of nine Melbourne public housing towers
- Friday July 3 - 66 cases
- Thursday July 2 - 77 cases
- Wednesday July 1 - 73 cases
AFFECTED BY THIS STORY?
Support is available. You are never alone.
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
- Mensline: 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au
- Survivors of Suicide: 0449 913 535
- Relationships Australia: 1800 050 321
- headspace Ballarat (for 12-25s and parent support): 5304 4777
- Soldier On: 1300 620 380
- Ballarat Community Health: 5338 4500
- QLife: 1800 184 527 (Support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people)
- Family violence: 1800 RESPECTVeterans support: If you or someone you know needs support call Open Arms on 1800 011 046 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit www.openarms.gov.au
- For Aboriginal crisis support: Yarning SafeNStrong, 1800 959 563 (noon to 10pm)
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